Circularity in Manufacturing

Circularity in Manufacturing

Sustainability. It’s not a choice. Especially since, according to World Bank Open Data, manufacturing causes 20% of global carbon emissions. What sustainability looks like will vary from industry to industry, but a common concept is circularity. British manufacturing has circularity high on its agenda to help achieve government net-zero targets. But what changes are we likely to see from this initiative?


Goodbye to ‘take – make – dispose’

The concept of ‘take – make – dispose’ should become a thing of the past. We know that extracting resources from the Earth can destroy habitats, cause erosion and contaminate soil/water.  Equally, the concept of disposing makes many of us think of toxins leaching into rivers, wildlife being strangled by plastic and landfill sites emitting greenhouse gases.

Reduce, reuse, recycle is now a household mantra that is also key to how manufacturing operates with circularity.


Reducing resources

In manufacturing the ‘reduce’ element typically focuses on driving efficiency and using less to make more. This might focus on using less energy or maintaining equipment properly so it doesn’t need replacing so often. With so much more data available through in-house systems and wider data sharing initiatives, it is becoming easier to understand where inefficiencies lie in processes and even to quantify particular product carbon footprints.


Reuse as a concept

Reuse in manufacturing has produced some inspirational examples such as car life spans being extended by having their combustion engines removed and being turned into electric vehicles. Product life cycles are being considered a lot more and we’re seeing a rise in the manufacture of products that can be rented, re-sold and re-manufactured.


Pre- and post- production recycling

Recycling can manifest itself in two ways. Responsible sourcing of materials that avoids raw materials wherever possible and industrial recycling for waste that is produced. Thankfully, innovation has resulted in many more products being able to be recycled. However, there is still some way to go on creating a full suite of recycled products that can equal their virgin alternatives in terms of cost and price.


Digital and technological advances

It’s a comforting thought that across the world there are teams of entrepreneurs and scientists looking for breakthroughs that will help manufacturers reduce, reuse and recycle. We are keeping our eyes peeled.

Interestingly, it’s not always about the new – sometimes traditional methods make a resurgence. Certainly, we’ve had a lot of recent interest in gravity conveyors which use no electricity, simply gravity to transport items between different floors.

Get in touch for an efficient conveyor, with a long life ahead of it: future-proofed by replacement parts and servicing options.


Manufacturing in 2023: 5 Major Changes we’ve Noticed

Manufacturing in 2023: 5 Major Changes we’ve Noticed

We have spent several decades in factories and seen a great deal of change during that time. Here are our recent observations on British manufacturing together with our thoughts on the opportunities and challenges they bring.


1) Data is huge

Whilst we work with electrical controls and integrating them into conveyor systems, the sheer breadth of electrical components now in manufacturing processes has given businesses more data than ever before. Dashboards, showing key management information, are something we see on most site visits. This constant reporting means problems are found quickly and can be dealt with.


2) A changing shift in the perception of AI

AI is very much becoming the norm in manufacturing and its presence is noticeably modernising manufacturing processes. Inventory management, supply chain management, predicting demand… it all uses AI now. AI is uniting entire supply chains and giving factories the ability to manufacture seamlessly. The fear that initially surrounded AI and its potential to take away jobs is lessening. In fact, seeing cobots working alongside human workforces to make processes slicker and safer is ever more common.


3) Predictive maintenance

This is a particular area of AI that interest PJP. Servicing and maintenance are essential to protecting hard-working equipment. And now AI is taking this idea to the next level with predictive maintenance systems helping companies nail the optimum time to replace parts: ensuring components use close to their maximum lifespan and minimising costly downtime caused by wear and tear.


4) Reduction in the workforce

Recruitment challenges are huge. The ‘great resignation’ we are still seeing has been caused by the perfect storm of low unemployment rates and high inflation in a post pandemic world where many workers are assessing their work-life balances. It’s a struggle to recruit skilled manufacturing engineers and workers – this is being compounded by many overseas workers now being painfully difficult to attract with new visa requirements.


5) Leaving the EU has created greater challenges

Manufacturing businesses buying from EU countries face increased paperwork, time and cost to get the items they need, and this has huge consequences for efficient manufacturing. When selling to overseas customers, mystical duty rates and resulting fines have left many manufacturers scratching their heads wondering just what is going on.


We hope you’ve enjoyed this article. We like to keep our finger on the pulse when it comes to both manufacturing and warehousing. Automating processes with a new conveyor or maintaining existing machinery can be a game changer for manufacturers and we pride ourselves in finding solutions for our customers that provide impressive returns on investment.

Get in touch to see how we could help.